THE END IS BUT A BEGINNING...
concept by R & JM Lofficier and Stephan Martiniere
Is it possible that the Ancient Vikings, during their crazed, drunken rages, may have glimpsed visions of a undreamed of future? For the Earth that lies dying at the End of Days bears a striking resemblance to that of the Norse Myths...
million years in the future... Or more... Men stopped counting in the long distant past...
The sun is dying. It has become a huge, blood-red eye in the firmament of an Earth in the throes of eternal winter...
New races of man have evolved; new species of beasts...
Science has vanished and magic has arisen to dominate the twilight of Earth as it dominated its morning...
The Long Night has come at last.
Or has it?
Earth is still a battlefield for what may well be the ultimate war of history, the war that will end all wars, the war at the end of time -- RAGNAROK!
THE WORLD OF RAGNAROK
With the sun dying, energy has become so precious that not one photon can be allowed to escape.
Space itself, within the confines of the Solar System, has been colonized.
A vast web of microfilaments connects the planets and the space habitats (see below), collecting and redistributing energy and information, also serving as modes of transportation between worlds. They are the BIFROST BRIDGES or RAINBOW BRIDGES.
The AESIR - the Gods - the descendents of Men (see below) - live in "space cities". The planets themselves are husks providing natural resources by mined the creatures created by Men.
The space habitats are named:
- AESGARD, the first and most important of them all, located on the same orbit as Earth. It is there that ODIN resides - and where YGGDRASILL, the heart of the system, is located.
- NIFFLEHEIM, farther out in the Solar System, towards the gas giants; it is the domain of TYR, who is also the Protector of the Solar System against the OUTSIDERS (see below).
- MUSPLESHEIM, near the Sun inside the orbit of Mercury; it is the domain of HEIMDALL, who is also the caretaker of the BIFROST BRIDGE;
- BILSKIRNIR, inside the Venusian orbit; a smaller habitat, used by THOR;
- NARVI, inside the Martian orbit, a smaller habitat, used by LOKI;
- VALHALLA, located inside Jupiter's orbit; a vast habitat, the domain of the goddess HEL and her VALKYRIES - it is the most powerful habitat after AESGARD.
Other habitats will be added according to the stories' requirements.
Eventually, the Gods know that the Sun will contract, then go nova and destroy everything and everyone - RAGNAROK!
THE INHABITANTS OF RAGNAROK
1) THE GODS:
The Gods are what Men have become after millions of years of evolution. They can control the energies of the cosmos around them, tapping directly into the Bifrost Bridge. They can live in airless space, create and reshape matter; they are virtually invulnerable and immortal. But their passions are still those of the Men of Old... Like any Old Man who becomes eccentric and capricious with old age and the approach of death, the Gods of that far future time have become eccentric and deadly, as they sense that soon (by their standards, a few thousand years?) RAGNAROK will occur, destroying them all. So they are intent of enjoying their last millennia of life.
The Gods are handsome, beautiful, and immortal. They are powerful but sterile... The last survivors of a dead-end evolution that produced supermen and superwomen, trapped in eternity like flies in amber.
There are perhaps a thousand or so Gods in the Solar System. That is all that is left of pure Mankind.
2) THE SERVITOR SPECIES:
Men have created four "servitor species" to help them mine the planets; they are patterned after the four elements (fire, water, earth and air). They are:
2.1. THE FIRE DEMONS (led by SURTUR) who slave on the hot planets Mercury and Venus;
2.2. THE FROST GIANTS (led by YMIR) who labor on the ice planets (Titan, all the satellites of Jupiter, Saturn, etc.)
2.3. THE TROLLS (led by SUTTUNG, other characters include his daughter GUNNLOD and his weaponmaker SINDRI THE SMITH) who work on, and more often beneath, the ground on worlds like Earth and Mars.
2.4. Finally, the STORM GIANTS (led by BOR), energy-lifeforms created to work inside the gas giants themselves.
The Servitor Species all have an uneasy relationship with the Gods - sometimes allies, sometimes enemies, ever intriguing to gain more power.
3) THE NORNS:
The Norns are Artificial Intelligences, a creation of Humanity, but one that evolved independently, beyond its direct control. The Norns are led by MIMIR the "Guardian of Wisdom" and exist within the "cyberspace" of the Rainbow Bridge that ensnares the entire solar system, and are therefore omnipresent.
Other known Norms include URD, VERDANDI and SKULD.
The NORNS control and dispense information - they appear to be neutral in their relationship with the Gods and the Servitor Species. But they may actually be more devious and have their own, hidden agenda...
4) OTHER CREATURES:
- FENRIS is a sentient black hole that adopts the form of the shadow of a wolf; it is the result of a catastrophic experiment in an earlier age.
- FAFNIR is a space-faring Dragon, the last survivor of its kind, another failed experiment, the other dragons having been destroyed by the Gods during the Dragon Wars eons before.
- THE OUTSIDERS: No one knows (except maybe ODIN) who the OUTSIDERS are, except that they come from outside the Solar System. Are they aliens? Are they descendents of Men who, long ago, emigrated to other solar systems? No one knows for sure, but they seem intent to observe, maybe interfere, with the Solar System. They have a known agent, a mysterious creature that seemingly defies all the laws of nature, called ULL.
TYR is in charge of repelling the OUTSIDERS.
THE AESIR - THE GODS THEMSELVES
- ODIN. The All-Father. The most powerful and most mysterious of the Gods. He has only one eye, the other being a connection to Yggdrasill (see below), wears a large flowing cloak, and is armed with his spear Gungnir. He uses two "virtual ravens", Huginn and Munnin, to gather information and send messages through the system.
Odin plays chess with the lives of everyone in the Solar System. No one knows what his mysterious plans are: Maybe he is scheming to bring forward Ragnarok in order to recreate the Human Race and give it a new destiny? Or perhaps he is plotting to avert Ragnarok?
ODIN usually remains in AESGARD. When he travels, it is with the WILD HUNT, a squadron of fierce, invincible, machine warriors.
- YGGDRASILL is not a God but a machine shaped like a "tree" that exists at the center of AESGARD. It is the device that controls the entire Solar System, energy, information, etc. The world of RAGNAROK lies in its shadow. To control YGGDRASILL is to control the Solar System. To destroy it is to bring about RAGNAROK. Only ODIN (through his left eye) and the NORNS (who live inside it) have access to YGGDRASILL.
Some say the OUTSIDERS found a way to infiltrate YGGDRASILL but there is no proof that it is so.
- THOR is the ultimate warrior of the Gods; with his flame-red hair and his hammer Mjollnir (built by the Trolls), he is the epitome of heroism. He is strong, loyal, unquestioningly devoted to Odin, but not always very smart. He lives in Bilskirnir. He enjoys the loyalties of many of the other Gods.
THOR cannot make up his mind about whom he loves: the beautiful blonde goddess SIF or the Valkyrie BRYNHILD.
- LOKI is the God of Evil, a schemer, a devious mind. Loki seems to be the only one who seems to know what Odin has in mind, and opposes it in every way he can. Loki wants to bring about Ragnarok, and claims that when that happens, he and his followers will emerge even more powerful as the gods of an ever greater universe, no longer confined to a dying system. Loki's plans, if allowed to succeed, may not only doom most of Mankind, but endanger the very cosmos...
- FREYA is a Goddess who incarnates science; she maintains Yggdrasill and acts as Odin's vizier and confidante.
- BALDER is Thor's most trusted companion.
- Other SUPPORTING CHARACTERS include the Gods HEIMDALL, TYR who each are Lords of their own Habitats, LODUR, BRAGI, the Goddesses FRIGG, GEFION, etc.
- One GODDESS of note is the fearsome HEL, the Shadow Queen of Valhalla. With her deadly dog-like GARM by her side, HEL rules over the VALKYRIES - only female amazon-like Goddesses are allowed in Valhalla. Even Odin fears HEL, who may be the only God whose power rival his own. Odin and Hel have a difficult alliance. HEL has her own agenda and is not to be trifled with.
AND IN THIS FANTASTIC UNIVERSE COMES....
... RAVEN, a 20-year girl from the Los Angeles barrios from the early 21st century!
Pulled through time and space by LOKI, RAVEN is here to serve a sinister purpose: in order to gain ascendancy, LOKI has made a bargain with FENRIS (whom he eventually intends to betray anyway) -- one that involves the corruption of SURTUR, and the quest for the Missing Eye of ODIN!
But such a quest cannot be fulfilled by any of the Gods, under edict from Odin. And crafty Loki does not trust his allies amongst the TROLLS...
So a mortal had to be found, a very special mortal, one with all the skills necessary to play the games of the Gods -- and survive!
LOKI found a way to open - very briefly, and possibly only once! - a small window into the past. And through that window, he snatched RAVEN, because he saw that she carried within herself the potential destiny to bring about RAGNAROK!
In RAVEN, LOKI thinks he has found his ideal catspaw.
In reality, he will soon discover that he has found MORE than he bargained for. Far more! For the daring, resourceful girl whose fighting skills and instincts have been forged in the fires of her modern-day, gang-infested streets, is more than a match for the Aesgardian god of evil...
ODIN, too, sees in RAVEN someone unexpected, new to his game... Someone who can help his plans to save Mankind and lead it to a Rebirth...
First, RAVEN, deceived by LOKI's lies, helps the God of Evil, enjoying the new powers that the wily God has given her.
But, realizing the truth, she switches sides. She becomes infatuated with THOR. In a crucial battle, LOKI takes away her powers and she dies.
But ODIN brings her back to life and, joining her in a mind-meld with YGGDRASILL, shows her what destiny may lie ahead of her.
RAVEN has a choice: a now-or-never opportunity to betray the Gods and go home - or stay in the future and fight off RAGNAROK. (And who knows, maybe get THOR after all!)
We know what she will choose, don't we? (He is sooo dreamy.)